Engineered flooring can be fastened or glued down, or left to "float," relying on its mass to hold it in place. Use this guide to choose the install method that's best for you

1. Glue it together. Apply a bead of glue to the tongue of each board and tap it into place with a block. The floor floats, unattached to the subfloor except by force of gravity.

2. Fasten it down. Rent a floor stapler and compressor (about $40 per day) and rapidly secure the boards to the existing floor without having to wipe up any glue.

3. Glue it down. Lay the boards in a bed of adhesive, as you would tile. This approach works particularly well over cured concrete, where you can't use staples.

4. Click and lock. This floating floor has specially milled tongues and grooves that lock together without glue or fasteners. It's the quickest and cleanest installation method.

Can engineered floors be refinished?

Yes, they can, at least once. Floors with a wear layer less than 2 millimeters thick can tolerate a light scuff-sanding with a buffer. Thicker top layers can be sanded just like solid wood, allowing you to erase deeper scratches and dents. An engineered floor with a 3-millimeter top, for instance, can handle two refinishings. Just be sure your flooring pro knows your floor's specs and refinishing history before he begins.

Cost calculator

To factor how much a new engineered wood floor will set you back, first measure the room's square footage. Add 15 percent for cuts and waste, then multiply by the boards' square-foot price. Don't forget to tack on a few extra bucks for door thresholds, which are sold separately.

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